The game I made for my wife is something rather different. It was a game made for an audience of one.
The reason I’m not showing you the whole game is for the same reasons we don’t show our love letters to the public. They’re private communications, composed with a single person in mind. Indeed, even if I did put my game online for everyone to play, it wouldn’t make any sense. None of the objects inside the rooms have any meaning to anyone but my wife and I. They’re a rumination on our shared experiences, so if you didn’t experience them, they won’t make much sense. My wife enjoyed the game (thank god) and found it meaningful; you’d find it boring gibberish. – Clive Thompson, A video game for an audience of one.
The type of game Clive made is a “text adventure” game, which was pretty much the only type of game that existed on the first computer I ever used, my Dad’s Kaypro II. Though the image in this post is one I found on the internets, it is indeed the same type of computer I have found memories of, including many plays of Zork. And, if you want to experience just how far gaming as come, you can play Zork online and see what passed for gaming in the late 70s.
The main point of Clive’s article is that as a medium deindustrializes it gets “wilder and weirder” because just about anybody can create for the medium, not just the elite in the field. Take, for example, the entire internet since the advent of self-publishing tools in the earlier 2000s, something I got to be a part of (hooray).
The article is worthy read not only because Clive’s wild choice was to make a text game for his wife using the Inform 7 toolset, but because it shows just how easy its becoming to be part of a billion dollar industry. Take your weird, make a game, apply a bit of marketing know-how, and you’re can be in the gaming industry too. This is the age we live in and its not going away. Its going to get a lot wilder, a lot weirder. It’s a grand adventure.
As a parent, I thinking a lot about how to best prepare my kids for this new reality and reading Clive’s blog Collision Detection contributes greatly to said preparation. An awkward way to say it, but true.